A new study published in the journal Psychological Medicine, shows the spike in depression rates, especially among U.S. teens since 2005. The study led by the researchers from Mailman School of Public Health and the CUNY Graduate School of Public Health and Health Policy is the first to identify trends in depression by gender, education, and income over the past decade.

“Because depression impacts a significant percentage of the U.S. population and has serious individual and societal consequences, it is important to understand whether and how the prevalence of depression has changed over time so that trends can inform public health and outreach efforts,” said the lead researcher Renee Goodwin, of Mailman School of Public Health.

The researchers collated the data of 607,520 participants from the National Survey on Drug Use and Health, an annual study of person ages 12 and older in the United States. The investigators evaluated the prevalence of past-year depression yearly among respondents based on DSM-IV criteria.

The Study found that rate of depression increased significantly among Americans from 6.6% in 2005 to 7.3% in 2015. Additionally, there could see a rapid upsurge in the rate of depression, especially among those ages of 12 to 17 years, increasing from 8.7 percent to 12.7 percent from 2005 to 2015.

Even, the results showed a rapid increase in depression rate among youngest and oldest age groups, whites, the lowest income and highest income groups, and in those with the highest education levels. The findings are consistent with the recent study results on upsurges in drug use, deaths due to the drug overdose, and suicide.

Depression is most common in those with least access to any health care, as well as those with lower levels of income and education. According to recent studies, although, a growing number of Americans, especially socioeconomically vulnerable persons and young individuals, are suffering from untreated depression, there is no corresponding increase in the treatment. So the depression that goes untreated is the potential risk factor for suicide behavior, Goodwin noted.

Depression often remains undiagnosed, though it is most treatable mental disorders. Identification of a subset that faces the rapid increase in depression rate could help guide the provision of resources to reduce or avoid the individual and societal costs associated with depression, Goodwin concluded.